Windows Enterprise Desktop

Aug 20 2015   11:50AM GMT

Last Upgrade Anticlimactic + Lessons Learned

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Tags:
Windows 10
Windows Product Key
Windows Upgrades

Whew! I’m pleased and relieved to report that my big upgrade push is over now, with all 8 PCs successfully upgraded to Windows 10 in at least one boot-up partition (a couple of my test machines still boot 8.1 so I can continue to test in that environment for a while). I was concerned about losing access to my production PC so held that one until last, but it turned out to be totally ho-hum and routine, much like the upgrade I reported on yesterday for my wife’s mini-ITX PC.

lastwin10

A ho-hum, no fuss upgrade is a great way to conclude the upgrade-a-thon here at Chez Tittel.

Because of all the applications installed on my production machine, though, I’m still cleaning up some of the aftermath. Here’s what I’ve dealt with so far:

1. As with my other systems, I had to uninstall Start8, then install Start10 to maintain menu control and consistency. The program is totally worth the $5 it costs.
2. 8GadgetPack recognizes it’s been trampled by a new OS and automatically self-repairs after the first boot-up for Win10.
3. Upon launching Outlook for the first time after the upgrade, MS Office 2013 had to reinstall itself. Though I could receive Outlook messages immediately thereafter, I couldn’t send any outbound. A quick Google search informed me that running sfc /scannow would take care of that problem, and it did the trick.
4. The usual post-install cleanup, preceded by a full image backup, removed a 21 GB windows.old file from my system. CCleaner took care of all of this for me, much faster than the built-in Disk Cleanup program could have.
5. There have been several sizable update roll-ups for Windows 10 pushed out since the RTM was released at the end of July. Be sure to apply those updates to new systems sooner rather than later for much-needed stability and security improvements they deliver.

My next project will be to extract keys from the upgraded systems and perform selective clean installs. I can’t seem to find a /source (Windows image or running installation) that will work for DISM on my production PC and running dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth doesn’t conclude successfully on my production PC. At some point, I’m going to have to gird my loins and perform a clean install of the new OS on that PC, in search of a more perfect (or repairable) runtime image. Here’s what SIW Pro reports for Windows key information on my production PC (actual key values are blanked out for security reasons):

Resource Type	                                        Key	
Microsoft Windows NT CurrentVersion DefaultProductKey2	XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Windows 10 Pro	                                        XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Windows Default Product Key	                        XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Windows PID	                                        XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Windows Product Key Windows 10 Pro x64 (Professional)	XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX	

As far as I can tell, there isn’t any carryover of Windows 8.1 keys into the upgrade environment inside the OS itself. Presumably, MS *is* tracking this information back at HQ when it grants the upgraded OS permission to proceed, based on reading the value of the key in the OS being upgraded. But this key data is much cleaner than what I found stored on Windows 8.1 PCs that had been upgraded from 7 to 8, from 8 to 8.1, and then had the subsequent Update (a pseudo-SP, if ever there was one) applied.

[Note added 1:27 PM 8/20/2015 CDT -06:00 UCT]Based on feedback from one reader of the preceding material, I must add a summary section that explains that my overall experiences with Windows 10 have been quite positive, starting all the way back with the first technical preview edition I installed last October or November, all the way through the present day. I installed at least one dozen different builds on two test machines — a high-end i7 desktop with 32 GB RAM and similar accoutrement, and an i5 convertible tablet with 8 GB RAM — and have now upgraded 8 different PCs (3 desktops, 4 laptops (of which, two conventional, and two tablet-based), and an all-in-one) from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Though reading through my previous 7 blogs will cover the troubles I encountered along the way, at least some of them were of my own doing and by no means Microsoft’s fault in any way. Thanks to download tools, good advice, and great technical support along the way, I survived the process and managed to get all machines upgraded and working properly.

I think Windows 10 is a great OS, and offers the best device driver support I’ve ever seen from Microsoft for any OS. For the first time, ever, I came through a long series of upgrades and clean installs with less than a handful (3 to be exact) of device drivers that the OS didn’t recognize and install correctly on its own. On 7 of my 8 machines, in fact, DriverAgent and DriverUpdate found all drivers to be correct and up-to-date after Windows 10 took over those systems. I’ve NEVER had a post-install experience like that from MS ever, not even with Windows 8 or 8.1, both of which were already pretty good in that department.

2  Comments on this Post

 
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  • FTClark
    You talk about extracting keys for a clean install. I tried a clean install after upgrade and it seems like I don't need the  product keys. It seems to recognize the previous install even when I did a clean install. I just had to skip the requests for keys and at the end it was self-activated. I didn't just experiment by the way... NOT ME! I read some blog posts that indicated this should work. It is a bit scary and I was worried but it did work.
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  • Ed Tittel

    Good to know. I didn't realize this, and simply supplied the key when it was requested, instead of skipping that step.

    Thanks for sharing!

    --Ed--

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